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My Review of Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies... Should anyone need help in choosing.

Hi everyone,

I've had my share in finding the best food for my GSD puppy. I'm gonna write here my review of each of them, with the hope that anyone who's looking for which brand to feed their GSD puppy may use this as a reference. Keep in mind that every dog is different. My review is based on my 11 months-old male GSD pup, currently 80lb (Got him when he was 7 1/2 weeks, around 13lb then,) from September 2017 - Now. I'm going to list it from the 1st food he got 'till his current food. It's a long post, but it's the ultimate reviews.

1. CANIDAE ALL LIFE STAGES MULTI PROTEIN

I bought Canidae ALS because I was going to get a corgi at first, but a GSD fell into my lap instead (I thank God every dang day, can't imagine my life without my boy now).

468cal /cup, turkey and chicken meal protein, no corn no wheat no soy, $56 /44lb on Chewy.com.

He liked it, but then again he was a tiny puppy, would've eaten anything. Coat was fine, stools were fine. But the vet said to change to a specific Large Breed Puppy diet.

Bottom line: Good product. Canidae is a premium brand. If you have multiple dogs at home, can come in handy. A tad expensive compared to the others.

2. DIAMOND NATURALS LARGE BREED PUPPY

Changed the diet from Canidae over 7 days, had diarrhea for 3 days after that.

342cal /cup. Lamb meal protein. No corn no wheat no soy. $45 /40lb on Amazon.com.

He wasn't crazy about it, liked Canidae better, but then again he was still little so he ate it anyways. Never a solid stool; always soft and mushy (but not watery). Coat was fine.

Bottom line: Not the best, based on our experience. I mean, we went through 40lb quite a while and there was seldomly any solid stools. Or perhaps my pup just didn't like lamb. Or probably it wasn't a 'good bag' since I ordered it from Amazon and rumour has it, their pet food department has minimum quality control! (Read some customer reviews of several food on Amazon, some people posted photos of the 'real' ones vs 'amazon' ones are DIFFERENT.) Even so, won't be going back to this. Great promising ingredients, really wanted my pup to agree with it, but he didn't. Quite economical though, you know, cost-wise.

3. IAMS LARGE BREED PUPPY

Ok I kind of gambled a little bit here because this product is literally beneath both Canidae and Diamond Naturals (ingredients-wise). It has chicken BY-PRODUCTS ANDDDD CORN in the 1sr 5 ingredients. But it seemed passable and it's so cheappppo... So I tried it...

399cal /cup. Chicken protein. No soy no wheat (lots of corn though...) $28 /30lb (!) on Amazon.com.

Transitioned for 7 days, watery/mushy stools for the first 4 days or so. He liked it! Stools were solid! Hooray! Had a growth spurt of 13lb in a month! HOWEVER......... His coat was SO flaky. He SHED like some kind of SHED GODZILLA I swear. Coat wasn't shiny anymore. Kind of like... Dry. And unshiny. Like, where did his shiny coat go?! Went to a different vet that month for check up (why different vet? Because I got a free coupon. Whatever.) Asked her if the coat had gone flaky because of the corn. She said no, it must've been the chicken protein. Respect for the vet, of course. But I didn't quite click with her. I asked a couple of questions and 50% of them she answered, 'I'm not at liberty to answer that question.' I mean............ What........... The......??

Bottom line:
Eh, better than expected to be honest. Would've stayed with it if only he didn't turn into a shedding Godzilla. I can handle a GSD but not a Godzilla of Shedding. Super economical. I'd recommend it for someone who is extra cost-effective. Product doesn't hurt, price doesn't either.

4. AMERICAN JOURNEY SALMON ALL LIFE STAGES LARGE BREED

I came across this brand on Chewy.com, apparently is their own brand. Not many people have heard about this brand. Decided to give it a go anyways. Ingredients look great.

330cal /cup. SALMON and MENHADEN FISH are the main protein, which is GREAT. No corn no wheat no soy. It was $29 /28lb when I bought it, now it's $35.

My dog liked it. No problem at all. Easy transition, no diarrhea. His coat was shiny, stools are good and solid. It's just that it's not a specific puppy food

Bottom line: That being said, I would completely recommend it. It's not a lifestage-specific formula. But salmon for $29? **** yeah.

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After we finished the American Journey bag, we went back to Canidae (I just remembered I had an extra bag because when the 1st one was delivered, the bag was already open, so Chewy.com sent me another one. My dog won't eat it AT ALL. Like, AT ALL. For 2 weeks I had to handfeed him, even then, he still refused. Don't know what happened there. The expiration date was due in August 2018 (This was April 2018). Maybe he didn't like chicken anymore. Maybe something went wrong with it being stored for 6 months. Don't know. But no Canidae for my boy now. (Again, not a bad product at all, dog just didn't like it... Anymore.)

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6. PRO PAC LARGE BREED PUPPY

Here's another underdog brand. Why did I switch from American Journey or Canidae? Because American Journey went up by $5, and wouldn't eat Canidae. I'd been eyeing this product.

360cal /cup. It has everything I'd been looking for; Large Breed Puppy, Chicken and Whitefish protein, no corn no wheat no soy, 2 proteins, sensational price. $30 /28lb on Chewy.com.

But here's what (I think) went wrong... I had to switch to Pro Pac from Canidae cold turkey, AND just so it happened, that week there was a living situation and my boy had to stay with a sitter (from Rover) for 5 days 4 nights. He really liked it (compared to Canidae), ate it for 3-4 days before I had to drop him at the sitter's. Stools were completely fine. But he wasn't crazy about it, to the point he almost didn't eat it unless he was starving. The sitter said he wasn't eating much, almost always leaving some in the bowl. Probably due to the stress of adapting, and switching back from Salmon to Chicken. Don't know. But when things went back to normal, he just STOPPED eating it all at once. It was very, very conflicting to me (because he liked it at first.) Asked for an advice from our trainer, she said to leave the bowl for 15 mins and just pick it up if he doesn't eat it, 'till the next meal. Stopped giving him treats all at once too. THREE whole days went by... Starting to get worried here because he didn't even SNIFF the food. He was happy as can be albeit he was hungry, but not lethargic at all. So this is a behaviour thing most likely. Plus he hasn't gained ANY weight since switching from American Journey. Crap.

Bottom line: I DO recommend this food, especially for those with a budget. It's literally one of the best bang for your buck. Honestly. I just if you decide to feed your dog this formula, hope he/she likes chicken.

7 AND FINAL. TASTE OF THE WILD PACIFIC STREAM PUPPY

That third day, I went to the dog park and met a lady who just adopted a year old GSD. I mentioned in our conversation that my dog hadn't eaten in 3 days for no apparent reason. She said to go to a certain pet shop and try Taste of the Wild. Her dog eats TOTW High Prairie and gained 28lb in like a month she said. I've heard good things about TOTW. But it wasn't quite within my budget area, so... I didn't pay much attention to it. But it was the 3rd day that my boy hadn't eaten, so on my way home I drove to that pet shop.

360 cal /cup. Salmon and Oceanfish protein. No corn no wheat no soy. GRAIN-FREE (fancy that!). $45.99 /30lb at this petshop. Online or at Petco it's like $49.99. Yeesh.

Went in to the store and I said to the trainer/manager that my dog hadn't eaten in 3 days, and asked for a TOTW fish puppy formula. I said I switched his food from fish to chicken and now I think he likes fish. And then she asked if my dog knew any trick, I said 'Yeah. You can tell him to roll.' so roll did my dog. Then this trainer poured the sample to a carton box and my dog... Ate... Right... Away... And kept... Coming back... For more. I was astounded. I swear I felt like those people on Dog Whisperer after Cesar Millan 'fixed' their dog. I was in awe. The trainer explained to me, for this situation, I'd have to make him 'interested' in the food, making him feel like he MUST earn it thus making it 'special' to him. (I know. So much effort to feed dogs.) I was gonna take home another sample, but I was like, screw it, let's get a bag. (Also, this store does 'Get 1 free after your 10th bag.' Ooooh. How dandy.) Came home. He ate. I never look back.

(Switched to TOTW cold turkey, zero diarrhea whatsoever. Completely clean.)

Bottom line: Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream puppy is the shiz. Hands down. The end. Goodbye.

Alright I'll elaborate. He's been on it for a week now. He eats slowly on breakfast time, sometimes he doesn't finish it or I have to handfeed him. But he gobbles everything down at dinner. Like, empty, clean bowl. Ingredients wise it's top notch. It's stretched my budget a little but honestly for like $50, this is probably the best money can buy. Most importantly my dog LIKES IT A LOT. Similar ingredients, different brands, can go up to $95 for like 24lb. Like, no. I'mma be staying with TOTW for the long haul. No more changing madness.

-----

I'd like to admit it's probably my fault he's become picky. But hey, I make mistakes. Now that I found the ONE for my dog, I'll keep him there.

Bottom, bottom line:
1. I would first and foremost recommend TASTE OF THE WILD PACIFIC STREAM PUPPY, because... it's Taste of the Wild. Enough said.
2. For those with puppies and budget, PRO PAC LARGE BREED PUPPY definitely one of the best that money can buy. One of the most underrated products one can find in my honest opinion.
3. For All Life Stages formula, can't go wrong with AMERICAN JOURNEY SALMON LARGE BREED (only available on Chewy.com).
4. For those on tight budget, you could do a lot worse than IAMS LARGE BREED PUPPY.

Peace out. All love.

McGloomy
 

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Well, I feed my baby-puppy adult dog food. But I feed her the Earthborn Holistic Meadowland Feast as it has the right Protein:Fat ratio and Phosphorus: Calcium ratio for growing puppies. Where the other varieties that I feed my adults as well as the Meadowland Feast, is not necessarily the right combo for puppies.

these are grain free.

At PetValu, I bought 3 bags of Meadowland, 2 of the Great Plains, 2 of the Coastal Catch, and two of the Primitive Natural.

The 28 pound bags are $55.99 there. But they will price match for me, so they took off $6 per bag, so 49.99 per bag. Because I buy in bulk (I'm feeding 15 GSDs), the gave me another 15% off, So $42.49 per bag. So, with sales tax, I paid $408.22. That will last me between 2 and 3 weeks.

I like the quality and the consistency as well as the ingredient list. For the most part, my dogs are scarfing it down. Now that it is hot out, I am adjusting intake because some are leaving food in their dishes as they do not need as much to keep warm. But we will figure out the exact feeding amounts.

I weaned my last litter onto the Meadowland Feast, and am pretty happy with the food. Tinuviel and Bear are eating only that. I am mixing all four of the other stuff for the rest of my dogs. GSDs can be rather picky eaters, but I have 13 on the same food with just the dam and pup on the one kind. That is important to me, because I do not want to have to feed this one this and that one that.
 

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TOTW is mediocre. I got into that when I was fostering. My older dog developed cancer on TOTW. It may not have been responsible but she was on it most of her life when she was diagnosed. My puppy was on Diamond when I got him and was not doing well. I switched to Fromm LBP then almost right away to adult Fromm. I used to feed Canidae and did not like it. For me, it’s not how much the dog likes it but what’s in the food.
 

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TOTW is made by Diamond. I tend to look at where a food is manufactured and incorporate that into my feeding choices. I don’t feed a lot of kibble, but when I do, I prefer smaller brands with good safety records.
 

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:thinking:The shepherd before our current guy did really well on TOTW.He had digestive issues and we had a struggle finding the right food for him.I cooked food for him for several months since it's all he could tolerate while experimenting with small amounts of various brands of kibble.I would have continued the homemade except I had doubts if I was providing all of the proper nutrients he required in the long term.The winner was TOTW along with an enzyme supplement.We all have to do what works best for them.
My neighbor across the road has a 12yr old lab who has eaten Old Roy (shudder!!) all of her life.She's a happy healthy girl except a little overweight.I don't know what to think about that.
 

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I wouldn't feed Ol' Roy but I am sure many dogs do well on it. Dogs evolved to eat human waste, after all... they were never getting the choice cuts of meat, but remnants and waste of all kinds. Dogs probably only ate human-coveted muscle meat rarely, if at all.

Part of why dogs have done so well in this world is their ability to rapidly adapt to different conditions. Eating Ol' Roy and other scraps is part of that.
 

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I wouldn't feed Ol' Roy but I am sure many dogs do well on it. Dogs evolved to eat human waste, after all... they were never getting the choice cuts of meat, but remnants and waste of all kinds. Dogs probably only ate human-coveted muscle meat rarely, if at all.

Part of why dogs have done so well in this world is their ability to rapidly adapt to different conditions. Eating Ol' Roy and other scraps is part of that.
But the question is how long did they live and how healthy were they, parasites etc? There probably was a very strong natural selection as well and puppies didn't grow up with heat lamps, weren't supplemented with formula etc.
 

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I never thought of that.An example would be rescued street dogs that received poor nutrition from puppyhood up to that point and make fine healthy pets.
 

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20 years ago, I had a girl with the most rubbish stomach. Over 18 months tried 'high quality' foods which only worked for awhile. After another visit to the vets, a lovely tech suggested 'Chappie'. Was not convinced as I considered it cheap, didn't want to feed wet food etc but was desperate so gave it a try. Had no more problems for the next 8 years. So now I think that you should feed the best diet you can afford but that might not be the best diet for your dog. None of my dogs have ended up on the same brand of food.
 

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I'm sure dogs as companions of hunter-gatherers suffered from disease, worms, early death from injury, etc. But so did people.

When it comes to diet, dogs and people are pretty similar. Both can thrive on many different diets. Lifestyle, exercise, and body mass tend to play greater roles than diet. I am not advocating we go out and eat fast food every day. No doubt that's unhealthy. But a vegan vs. a low carb. versus a keto vs. the Mediterranean diet peeps- I've seen some people do well on any of these diets.

Inuit thrive on whale blubber, French have better heart health than Americans even consuming copious amounts of white bread, wine, and cheese, Native Americans in the Southwest lived off beans and maize.

I don't think I'd do well on whale blubber and lichen, but who knows. I can't exactly test that diet. I haven't seen any studies that directly correlate longevity or health problems to kibble brand and price. Anecdotally, my friend's large dog was fed vegan dog food and lived to 16... who am I to judge?

I wouldn't recommend that you feed your dog Ol'Roy. But, if the dog does well on it, that's fine. While cancer could be diet related, it's probably (again) mostly related to genetics, exercise, and body mass index.
 

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To me at this point what's most important is that my dog likes it, eats it, and the nutrients are not like, you know, Pedigree or whatever. But I do agree that some dogs DO reach long life on stuff like Pedigree or Ol' Roy. That's why in my review I stated 'Keep in mind each dog is different.' I don't really mind with companies who've had recalls. Yes it's bad but that also means that they've fixed it each time. Also, yes some people feed adult food to puppies. It's a fair game, whatever works for the dog and the owner. Personally I'd listen to my vet (the first one) that I'll be keeping my boy on puppy food 'till 18-24 months.
 

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By the way, do any of you guys store your dog food in a container? Because some say don't and some say it's okay if it's air-tight and BPA free. Mine is that. I keep the dog food in there but I also keep the bag until that batch is finished just in case there's something wrong with it. What R your opinions on food storing?
 

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Im a big Fromm fan. Had no issues with allergies, loose stools, pano, dry skin or stinky dogs. I like you can try different recipes and change things up - I like it’s a family owned company and is reputable. Most of all my dogs do good on it and are happy and healthy so that makes me a big fan!

I keep the food in the original bag and store it in a storage container. https://thomastonfeed.com/blogs/news/the-dangers-lurking-in-pet-food-bins
 

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By the way, do any of you guys store your dog food in a container? Because some say don't and some say it's okay if it's air-tight and BPA free. Mine is that. I keep the dog food in there but I also keep the bag until that batch is finished just in case there's something wrong with it. What R your opinions on food storing?
When we start out, most of us anyways, our vets are usually more knowledgeable than we are on most of the dog-related subjects. But time marches on, and if we do not live in a dog crate, staring at the wall, we start to know more. We may know more than vets do about specific dog-related topics.

Think about it, your average run of the mill vet has to be a surgeon, and know everything there is to know about internal organs, repairing, stitching, anesthetic, etc, etc, etc,. And then they need to know about x-ray, ultrasound, blood analysis, parasites, heart and lung sounds, puppies, adults, seniors, euthanasia, etc, etc, etc. Then, they need to know cats, and reptiles, birds, and if you live around here, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and even alpacas.

And then, think about how very many breeds there are (200+). Dogs are maybe the most varied of species. There are tiny Yorkies that weigh 4 pounds at adulthood, and giant mastiffs that weigh 260 pounds. That's a lot of difference. They are all dogs. But they do not all suffer from the same ailments. Some breeds are prone to things virtually unseen in other breeds. And we're not even touching mongrels. Can we expect a veterinarian to be an expert on all the breeds out there? Yep. We do it all the time. We expect them to know it all. And we get mad if they don't.

But one day, that illusion of the vet as omniscient is shattered. We learn a lesson that day. We forgive and move on, but we don't necessarily take everything they say as gospel. Good. We are the ones that have to live with the mistakes. We are the advocates for our dogs. I see my vets (and I have been using them for 30 years) as my partners for my dog's health, but the ultimate responsibility for EVERY decision is mine. My vet can teach me, and I will go out and research what I have learned, and then I can make informed decisions.

Once upon a time my mother was putting eye medicine into my little brother's eyes that his eye doctor had prescribed. The baby was kicking and screaming and having such a bad time, that my mother stopped and took him to another eye doctor. The second eye doctor was appalled at what was prescribed and we were going to make the kid blind if we continued with it. . Ok, that was 1978.

Once upon a time, my brother's partner was on a new medication, and he was failing. Finally they took the medicine to the doctor and found that the pharmacy was a couple of digits off. He died. He was 31.

Once upon a time 60 minutes did program on vets. They took a relatively healthy dog from a shelter after getting it examined by the shelter vets, and took the same dog to 5 or 6 local vets. They all had different diagnoses, all charged various amounts, and all were going to recommend different treatments for the dogs. Scary shtuff that.

Once upon a time I took pups 2 days old to a vet and they warmed them up to 102 degrees and fed them, and gave them back to me. Well, even I, and electronic engineer, knew that a neo-natal puppy should not be 102 degrees. That was the date that I decided for whelping and baby-puppy issues, I will use the repro-vet 2+ hours away if at all possible.

Once upon a time, I got a frantic call in the night from a lady who had her dog at the ER and they wanted to do an emergency spay. Whiping the sleep out of my befuddled eyes, I listened to the symptoms she was reporting and told her that it does not sound like pyo. Don't let them spay your bitch, and I told her to take the girl to the repro-vet which is a 24 hour clinic. It was not pyo, it was a blockage, the dog did not need surgery. They were able to intervene with drugs. She had a nice litter out of the bitch.

Once upon a time, a breeder told me that she learned at a seminar that vets get one class in nutrition during vet school. The class is developed and put on by Purina. Whoo hoo! Can you say conflict of interest???

Most vets will look at a dog that looks spectacular, and rave about the health and coat of the dog, and when the owner tells them they are feeding a RAW diet, the vet shudders and tells the owner that that is a really bad idea.

As for me and my house, we listen to breeders of the breed I have first, particularly on nutrition, but on other health issues too. Probably because we have seen too much with our own eyes.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I've heard good things about Fromm. The same store I buy the TOTW carries it too. Thanks for the article btw!
 
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